SAJ AND USJ EXPECT MAYOR OF KOPER TO APOLOGISE TO JOURNALIST
The Slovene Association of Journalists (SAJ) and the Union of Slovene Journalists (USJ)
have today responded to the conduct of the Mayor of the Municipality of Koper, Boris
Popovič. Municipality representatives are justifying the unacceptable behaviour of Mayor
Popovič by continuing their attacks on the Primorske novice journalist Petra Vidrih. The SAJ
and USJ have sent an open letter to the Mayor, expressing their expectation that Boris
Popovič will unequivocally apologise to the journalist, who was only carrying out her duties
within the framework of professional journalistic standards and ethics.
Dear Mr Mayor,
The two journalists’ organisations have been informed about your verbal attack on the
Primorske novice journalist Petra Vidrih on Monday, 23 October, during her interview with
you. The two organisations agree with both the Working Group and the Union of Journalists
at Primorske novice. Your verbal attack on and threat against Petra Vidrih implies an attack
on the dignity and independence of journalism in general.
Petra Vidrih is bound to respect the provisions of the Munich Declaration on the duties and
rights of journalists, which is contained in both the journalists’ collective contract as well as
in the Slovene journalists’ code of ethics. In line with the above declaration, a journalist’s
basic duty is to respect the truth and the right of the public to be informed about the truth,
irrespective of what the consequences might be, to defend the freedom of information and
criticism and to reject any pressures that are brought to bear.
The duties of journalists are inalienable and binding to all journalists. Your continued attacks
on Petra Vidrih, in which you deny the incident she reported on and accuse her of “improper
and unprofessional conduct” is a form of cynicism that the highest municipal representative
can not afford to display in relation to the general public. We expect you to publicly apologise
to Petra Vidrih for these attacks.
On behalf of the Union of Slovene Journalists
President Iztok Jurančič
On behalf of the Council of the Slovene Association of Journalists
President Gregor Repovž
Ljubljana, 25 October 2006